For Those Who Wonder Why Government Nannyism Annoys Me . . .

Here is your answer. Three of them, in fact.

Of course, because I live in the Chicagoland area, the ridiculous over-regulation of food trucks in the city hits home the most. But that may just be my parochialism talking. It ought to go without saying that all three instances of nannyism are utterly outrageous and in a better world, the people responsible for perpetrating this nonsense would be laughed out of any civilized gathering.

And while we are laughing them out of civilized gatherings, let’s not forget that nannyism abounds. The examples provided to us by Ted Balaker may be over the top, but in many ways, it is the not-over-the-top nannyism that we have to worry about. There are any number of politicians at the local, state and federal level who believe that they know better than we do when it comes to spending our tax money (as opposed to letting us have more of it–it’s our money, after all!–to spend and invest ourselves) and educating our kids, and who believe that policy should be dictated from on high and far away rather than formulated at the most local level possible. Their form of nannyism fits in more nicely in mainstream political thought than do the examples that Balaker gives us. But that doesn’t make their form of nannyism any less pernicious.

  1. Percival

    You can’t get a real Maxwell Street Polish anymore because the blockheads did away with Maxwell Street! Can’t find a place to be cheated fair no more.

    It was dirty and noisy and chaotic and the musicians that could only just hang on there were still better than most anybody you’ve ever heard.  It didn’t cost anything to hang around (keep your hand on your wallet, of course).  You could buy almost anything – some of it was even legal.  Since the government couldn’t tax or regulate it (or even police it, sometimes), the government hated it and finally killed it.

    MaxwellSt.jpg

    Chicago, one day you are going to wake up and find you’ve become West Detroit, and you’ll have nobody to blame but yourselves.

  2. Indaba

    Govt nannyism provides jobs for IMF and financial think tanks, and nice offices with staff, and dinners at fine restaurants and the sophisticated life for govt officials who get rewarded with pensioons.

  3. Chris Campion

    Some obscure political hack, working for the City of Chicago, coughed up an idea to enforce their 200-foot ordinance.  Now they’ll be hiring someone to install, monitor, and track the food trucks, and this Food Ordinance Dispensing Zone Enforcement Officer (FODZEO) will also fine the food trucks every time they violate the order.  Which will also help fund the position.

    See how easy that was?  Job creation, Chicago-style.

  4. Nick Stuart

    If I owned a restaurant or store and paid the taxes and overburden for inspections I think I’d want food trucks of whatever description that did not have that burden kept 200 ft from my door too.

    That said, I impute no public service or altruistic motives to the city, it’s all about the money. If they could make more money by letting the food trucks park wherever they wanted, that’s what they’d do.

  5. Keith
    Nick Stuart: If I owned a restaurant or store and paid the taxes and overburden for inspections I think I’d want food trucks of whatever description that did not have that burden kept 200 ft from my door too.

    That said, I impute no public service or altruistic motives to the city, it’s all about the money. If they could make more money by letting the food trucks park wherever they wanted, that’s what they’d do. · 39 minutes ago

    Haven’t you noticed that restaurants thrive where they are grouped, i.e. competition and choice are good for business. It may seem that competition is bad, and that makes for a lot of bad legislation, but it should be shown by the Right to be not so at every opportunity. 

    I think Reason does that reasonably well.

  6. Nick Stuart
    Keith Bruzelius

    Nick Stuart: If I owned a restaurant or store and paid the taxes and overburden for inspections I think I’d want food trucks of whatever description that did not have that burden kept 200 ft from my door too.

    Haven’t you noticed that restaurants thrive where they are grouped, i.e. competition and choice are good for business. It may seem that competition is bad, and that makes for a lot of bad legislation, but it should be shown by the Right to be not so at every opportunity. 

    I think Reason does that reasonably well. · 1 hour ago

    Competition is fine, but if one competitor has to compete shackled to high taxes and an onerous regulatory regime, while the other can operate as a gypsy it’s hardly a level playing field.

    I have to admit I haven’t followed it that closely, maybe the food truckers have their own crosses to bear (like disproportionately high payoffs to the pols and inspectors).

  7. James Lileks
    C

    If the ordinances and regulations had come from the right:

    1. Abstention forced on legal-aged adults by joyless bone-dry Christianist scolds;

    2. Big-business allies seek to squash plucky vendors of ethnic and organic non-corporatist foodstuffs;

    3. Patriot-Act authors extend surveillance fetish to the public schools

    But! Since these measures were extruded from the suckers of the tentacular & beneficent State, they will merit no more than a sarcastic expression of befuddlement from Jon Stewart – and the audience, sitting at home on the sofa watching TV between Call of Duty multiplayer sessions, will agree with Jon that this is Effed Up. 

    Later, when some obscure rule constrains their own freedom, they may suffer a momentary pang of confusion: this is the kinda thing Jon Stewart would make fun of. But it’s happening anyway. What’s going on here?

  8. Pejman Yousefzadeh
    C

    You’re kidding, right? Because a restaurant owner chose to have a restaurant rather than a food truck, owners of food trucks have to be penalized so that it is “a level playing field”? And how “level” is it when restaurants can be found all over the place in Chicago while food trucks have to hunt and peck for places that (a) attract business and (b) don’t violate the ordinance? Do you know how hard that is to do?

    Competition is fine, but if one competitor has to compete shackled to high taxes and an onerous regulatory regime, while the other can operate as a gypsy it’s hardly a level playing field.

    I have to admit I haven’t followed it that closely, maybe the food truckers have their own crosses to bear (like disproportionately high payoffs to the pols and inspectors). · 1 hour ago

  9. Peter Gøthgen
    Nick Stuart: If I owned a restaurant or store and paid the taxes and overburden for inspections I think I’d want food trucks of whatever description that did not have that burden kept 200 ft from my door too.

    It’s the same argument that’s been put forth by owners of mini-marts and such in NY state who are upset that the Indians (living in sovereign territory) are not subject to the same taxes on cigarette sales.  The solution is not to screw everyone equally, the solution is to stop screwing people in the first place.

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